Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet;
but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God
(Philippians 3:13-14 NASB)
New Jerusalem #15.
The Temple
October 1, 2009
In the Greek, the transliterated words heiron and naos are most often translated as the word temple .
Heiron refers to a sacred place, predominantly the entire physical structure [i.e., temple] (e.g., Matthew
4:5; 12:5, 6; 24:1). Naos comes from a primary word that means “to dwell” and is used mostly in a
narrower sense to refer to the sanctuary of the temple.
However, Jesus is the one who defines the spiritual meaning of the word naos , especially in reference to
New Jerusalem; a meaning, as we will see, that was taken up by Paul in his epistles.
As the day of the Jewish Passover neared, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Since this was a Jewish feast,
there were many Jews in Jerusalem at the time, and it was a time for some to make money by selling
oxen and sheep and doves in the temple. When He saw the money changers in the temple, Jesus drove
them out.
And He made a scourge of cords, and drove them all out of the temple [heiron] …. (John 2:15
Clearly, this was a reference to the physical structure called the temple. But then, Jesus said something
that caught the attention of the Jews that were watching and listening.
(19) Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple [naos] , and in three days I will raise it
up.” (20) The Jews then said, “It took forty-six years to build this temple [naos] , and will
You raise it up in three days?” (21) But He was speaking of the temple [naos] of His body.
(John 2:19-21 NASB)
Notice that the Jews used the word naos just as Jesus did, and they clearly thought He was speaking of
the physical temple. However, He was not, for He was referring to His body that would be broken (die)
on the cross and be raised from among the dead three days later. So, Jesus Himself established the
spiritual meaning of the word naos ; it is His body.
If we stop at Jesus’ word, we might be led to think that He alone is the temple of God, even today.
However, Paul was given great revelation of the ecclesia, which is the body of Christ, and he revealed
that the body of Christ, both individually and corporately, is now the temple of God.
The temple of God has moved from a physical structure of wood and stone to a body of holy, living
stones. This has been addressed in issue #03-0994, New Jerusalem #4, of this series.
(16) Do you not know that you are a temple [naos] of God and that the Spirit of God dwells
in you? (17) If any man destroys the temple [naos] of God, God will destroy him, for the
temple [naos] of God is holy, and that is what you are. (1 Corinthians 3:16-17 NASB)
(19) Or do you not know that your body is a temple [naos] of the Holy Spirit who is in you,
whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? (20) For you have been bought
with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NASB)
(16) Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the
living God; just as God said, “I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND
All who truly believe on the Lord Jesus receive an earnest of the spirit of God (Romans 5:5; 2
Corinthians 1:22; 5:5; Ephesians 1:13), and, on this basis alone, each believer becomes a temple of the
living God. The earnest of the spirit is a down payment of a greater indwelling of the spirit to come
when the living stones are transfigured into immortal, celestial, spiritual bodies in the image of the Son
of God, when they are filled up to all the fullness of God as the complement or fullness of Him who fills
all in all (Ephesians 1:23; 3:19).
In other words, the temple of God is not complete; it is being built up into a holy temple in the Lord.
Each temple of God is joined to the living Head and joined to one another through Christ, and all are
being fitted together so that one day there will be a completed temple in spirit called New Jerusalem.
Paul has given us the most complete explanation of the temple of God and New Jerusalem.
(19) Consequently, then, no longer are you guests and sojourners, but are fellow-citizens
of the saints and belong to God’s family, (20) being built on the foundation of the apostles
and prophets, the capstone of the corner being Christ Jesus Himself, (21) in Whom the
entire building, being connected together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord : (22)
in Whom you, also, are being built together for God’s dwelling place , in spirit . (Ephesians
2:19-22 CV)
This is the definition of New Jerusalem. If you grasp what Paul has given us in these few words, you will
never go astray in your understanding of God’s plan and purpose in and through New Jerusalem. In
Revelation 21-22, using physical descriptors, John recorded what he saw of New Jerusalem as she came
down out of heaven, having the glory of God. However, Paul explains what John saw.
New Jerusalem is Christ Himself; but it is not just Christ alone but Christ and His body, the inseparable
Head and Body of Christ, which is called the Christ by Paul and the Lambkin by John.
For, even as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of the one
body, being many, are one body, so also is the Christ …. (1 Corinthians 12:12 YLT)
Most translations leave out the article the , but the more literal translations leave it in, which gives the
Christ the proper meaning. The Christ is one body, and a body consists of a head. Paul continued on in
his letter to include eyes and ears in the body, which are part of the head (1 Corinthians 12:17). There is
no division in the body; consequently, it cannot be separated from the Head, which is the Lord Himself
(Ephesians 5:23; Colossians 1:18). Christ the Head and His body is the Christ, the Anointed.
I saw no temple [naos] in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb [ Lambkin ] are its
temple [naos] (Revelation 21:22 NASB [CV])
When John saw New Jerusalem, there was no physical temple in view. I imagine this puzzled him at
first since the temple had been the center of Jewish life, but he was given revelation that New Jerusalem
is the temple of God. Just as Paul saw the Christ as the Head and Body, John saw the Lambkin as the
Head and Body, the temple of God that is destined to fill the whole new earth. The word lambkin is a
better translation of the Greek word arnion that refers to a little lamb. The body of Christ will become
the Lambkin of God, which is New Jerusalem, and will reign with Christ for the eons of the eons
(Revelation 22:5 CV). See issue #03-0922, February 13, 2009, The Lambkin [Arnion] .
This is the destiny of all who believe on the Lord Jesus, but especially of those who conquer in our
present eon, for they are the ones worthy to reign with Christ in His kingdom in the next eon.
The Upward Call: #03-09105
by: Stuart H. Pouliot